Call for national driving strategy
Published on 12 March 2012 12:30 PM
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has called for a national strategy to deal with the rising number of older Britons who continue to drive.
In a new report, the Whitehall advisory body found that six in ten (60%) over-70s held a driving licence in 2010, compared to only around one in seven (15%) in 1975.
PACTS also said that four in five (80%) Britons aged between 60 and 69 currently hold a driving licence and are expected to continue driving for the next 20 years.
PACTS said: 'The report therefore concludes that older road users are here to stay and that a national strategy for an ageing population is vital.'
However, the report also found that older Britons are more likely to be seriously injured or die in an accident than younger people.
While the number of people killed or seriously injured on the road fell by 41% between 2000 and 2010 across all age groups, it only decreased by 37% for 60 to 69-year-old pedestrians, 40% for 70 to 79-year-olds and 33% for over-80s.
PACTS executive director Robert Gifford said: 'Over the next decade the balance of the population in this country will change. Older people need to be kept mobile and safe.
'I hope that this report will generate a national discussion about the state of our pavements and the relevance of self-regulation when it comes to giving up your driving licence. We need to move beyond seeing older people as a problem to viewing them as contributing to a mixed society.'
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK commented: 'Ability and safety not age should determine if someone should be allowed to continue driving.
'For many older people, driving is a way of maintaining independence and there should be more support and information for older drivers who choose to improve their skills.'
Copyright Press Association 2012